Pharmacy U

Time to begin for the new mentees

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By Mike Boivin, BSc.Phm.

Formal mentoring is an acknowledged practice in many industries throughout the world, but is not as commonplace in pharmacy.

That is changing. In this series, we are profiling 12 pharmacists who are being mentored by some of the top leaders in pharmacy. We will be reporting on common themes that show how a formal mentoring program can not only improve the relationship and knowledge of participants but also lead to business growth and opportunities for their employers.

We are highlighting the relationships between the mentee pharmacists and their mentors and showing how they plan to use this program to help catapult their careers to the next level.


“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

– John C. Crosby, American politician


Mentoring has a positive impact on both mentors and mentees.

When some people think of mentoring in pharmacy practice, they visualize new graduates being guided by the more experienced pharmacist. In reality, mentoring can have a positive effect for both the new graduate and the pharmacist with an established career and aspirations on continuing to move forward:

Ellen Boyd, mentee, with mentor Jane Farnham, President-Elect at CPhA

Ellen is a third-year pharmacy student actively engaged in initiatives at Dalhousie University and the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI). Her goals match those of a future graduate. “I want to use this mentoring program to explore the scope of pharmacy on a global level and prepare myself to become an effective pharmacist with a high level of career satisfaction.” She plans to maximize her relationship with mentor Jane Farnham: “Jane can provide guidance and practical input on new and exciting ideas and I am looking forward to working with her to expand my network of contacts when I graduate.”

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Koon Leung, mentee, with mentor Jeannette Wang, SVP Professional Affairs and Services at Shoppers Drug Mart

Koon is embarking upon a new direction for her career. She is currently the director, pharmacy category management with Shoppers Drug Mart. “I plan on using this opportunity with my mentor Jeannette Wang to look for methods to fully utilize my extensive marketing and industry background. Through this process, I am looking forward to developing the skills and experience to advance my career through the organization.” The mentoring program is still very valuable to an established pharmacy executive. “I am hoping this will allow me to become more engaged with my senior management team and address any gaps that I may have in my personal development.”

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Kimberly Masker, mentee, with mentor Angie Wierzbicki, Group Director, Pharmacy for Sobeys-Safeway Operations

Kim is looking to her mentor Angie Wierzbicki to provide insight into leadership in a pharmacy organization. “It is a great opportunity to increase my leadership presence. I am hoping that Angie can offer input into how to ‘command a room’ when having a meeting or giving a presentation.” Through this relationship and her experience as regional pharmacy manager for Safeway Pharmacy, Kim is hoping for more face-to-face contact and direct interactions with senior management. “I feel that I will be exposed to the big picture of managing a pharmacy organization. I am looking forward to learning more about both the business prospects and financial challenges of a large pharmacy chain.” All of these will help to increase her opportunities for leadership within the organization.

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Alicia Matthews, mentee, with mentor Sandra Aylward, Vice-President, Professional and Regulatory Affairs at Sobeys Pharmacy Group

Alicia is also utilizing her time in the mentorship program to help her obtain the strategic thinking required to become a leader in a large pharmacy organization. “In my current role of director of pharmacy for Ontario for Sobeys Pharmacy, I feel very comfortable formulating a project plan and executing it, but I am looking forward to learning how my projects fit into the bigger picture of the organization.” She is hoping to learn from the skillset of her mentor, Sandra Aylward, about the management of a large pharmacy chain and use this opportunity to see what she needs to move her career to the next level. “I feel this type of strategic approach will allow me to apply this knowledge to my professional career, my organization and other important aspects of my career.”

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by GenMed, a division of Pfizer.

PHU-Leaders-in-Pharmacy-Alicia-Kent-Sandra-Aylward

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by GenMed, a division of Pfizer.